How to Sell a Junk Car For Cash

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Looking to make some money and get a junk car off your hands? Here's how to sell it for parts or in one piece.
If you have an older car on your hands that hasn't retained its retail value, you may be tempted to simply have it hauled to the junkyard. However, you should explore your options first—lots of people need spare parts for cars that they're fixing up, and others might be interested in refurbishing a run-down vehicle. By selling it instead of simply taking it to the junkyard, you may make some extra money off of an old car, even if its retail value has diminished.
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How to sell your junk car in one piece

Find the title

You cannot sell a junk car without the
title
, so make sure your title paperwork is in order. If the car doesn't have a title, make sure to
replace it
before you sell.

Make a list of everything that you know is wrong with the car

If your car is malfunctioning or falling apart at all, it's important to give prospective buyers a heads up. This way, you can ensure that whatever price the buyer might offer you is proportional to the value of the car.
You will also need to write down your best estimate of the car's
mileage
.

Determine the car's approximate value

In order to get the best deal for your car, you'll need to determine its
value
. Sites like
Kelley Blue Book
are good places to start, and can help you easily estimate the value of your car.
You'll also want to get an estimate for how much it would cost to repair the damage, if you haven’t already. Subtract that cost for repairs from the value of the same type of vehicle in good running condition, and you'll have a rough estimate of your car's current value.

Clean the car out

Before you sell your car, make sure you don't accidentally sell any personal items along with it! Remove any of your things, then wipe it down and vacuum it out, if there is enough carpet and upholstery left to clean.

Decide where to sell the car

You can usually choose to sell your car to an individual buyer, a reputable business, or a salvage yard. While a reputable business may be more trustworthy, they might choose to pass on your car for a number of reasons that may not bother an individual buyer, and a junkyard will take your car no matter what.
Checking online can help you ensure that you sell your car to a reputable business. CarMax and DamagedCars.com are both great places to start, and can help ensure that you get the best price for your vehicle.
If you decide to sell your car to an individual buyer, try advertising in the local paper or online sites like Craigslist. This will get the attention of local buyers, and may help you get multiple offers to consider.
To sell your car to a salvage yard, start calling around to the local salvage yards in your area. This way, you can make sure you get the best deal possible if you choose to sell to a junkyard.

Sign the title over to the buyer

Sign the back of the title over to the buyer and give them the keys and bill of sale, and you should be all set!
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How to sell your junk car in parts

Figure out what's worth keeping

If you choose to sell your car in parts, anything that still works will be worth more. If the engine still runs, the transmission still shifts, and the windshield wipers still work, they can be sold separately, even if the rest of the car is falling apart.
  • Tip: Make sure you put all fluids and scrap in appropriate containers and dispose of them responsibly. To do this, take them to a hazardous waste collection site or scrap metal recycling center. This may even net you a little extra cash!

Decide whether or not to take it apart yourself

It is up to you and the buyer. Letting the buyer take it apart can be reassuring to them, since they'll be able to confirm the origin of the part, and may be able to test it before buying—not to mention, it'll save you a lot of work! However, if the buyer isn't skilled at car repair, they could damage other parts that you want to sell while trying to get to their part. Talk with the buyer to figure out an approach that will work for both of you!
  • Tip: Once you've stripped the car of parts, remember to remove your license plates and contact your local DMV to report that the car has been scrapped. You will most likely have to turn the license plates over to them.

Sell the parts online or locally

Craigslist is a good way to sell parts, as well as whole cars, as is your local newspaper. Advertising in multiple areas can help you find multiple buyers, which might be a good call if you're selling off several different parts.

Cancel your insurance

If you haven't already, let your car insurance provider know that the car is no longer on the road. Once you've
canceled your coverage
, you should be all set!
Whether your car has been sitting on your property for a while or died more recently, these tips should help you get a little more cash for a junk car. Hopefully you'll be able to upcycle the automotive parts, get the car off of your property, and make a little money—which may also subsidize the cost of a new vehicle, too.
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FAQs

How do I sell a junk car on Craigslist?

If you want to sell your junk car on Craigslist, simply create a listing with photos and any pertinent information about your car. Try to stick to short paragraphs and an interesting headline so that your readers can take in the information easily. Your listing should start getting responses shortly!

How do I sell my car to a junk dealer?

If you choose to sell your car to a junk dealer, you'll want to make sure that you're getting an honest price. In all likelihood, this will be easy! Just make sure to double-check the set price and any past reviews of your dealer. As long as it looks good, you should be all set.

How do I sell a junk car for scrap?

If you want to sell your junk car to a scrapyard, start by contacting your local junkyards. They should be able to give you an honest price, and, if nothing else, will definitely take the car off your hands. Just remember that if your car isn't running, you'll need to tow it there, which could add to your expenses if they aren't able to tow it themselves.

How do I sell a junk car in California?

If you're thinking of selling your junk car in California, California's Bureau of Automotive Repairs has a vehicle retirement program that you may want to consider. If your car is breaking down, but does not have an official 'junked' status from the DMV, you should check to see if you're eligible. It's worth keeping in mind that applications can take four to six weeks to process, though; if you want to get rid of your older car sooner rather than later, you may still want to consider other options.
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